There is an old centenary Ailanthus altissima, protected by the Moldavian state and planted in 1895.
Audio/Visual sound, color
We acknowledge the history of the introduction of the trees like Ailanthus altissima to the West as deriving from links between capital, biological espionage, acclimatisation societies, new invasive biology terminology, recent urban biodiversity issues and green propaganda (besides being a ubiquitous symbol of urban sprawl). Ailanthus was another of those plants that came to the West as result of more or less covered biological espionage and trade and Empire (tea is probably the best-known example!). Ailanthus has a very long history in chinese pharmacopoeia. In the West it was first confused with the more economically valued and sought-after Varnish tree of China (Toxicodendron vernicifluum or formerly Rhus verniciflua). Varnish or lacquer furnishings were luxury goods as was porcelain and other chinoiseries-style imports to the well-off aristocrats or colonial traders of the West or to horticultural experimentalists and naturalists. Ailanthus was part of the Oriental fashion in porcelain, furniture and garden design. Plant collectors were encouraged by their wealthy patrons to search for everything "useful, curious, or beautiful".
Thus, this traditional tree-of-heaven was introduced to the botanical nurseries of Europe, America, Tsarist Russia... and finally Moldavia, becoming during the 20th century a symbol of urban apocalypse and life after humans.
For those who don't know this species: the tree is unharmed, because as the alien species control manuals say - the Tree of Heaven CANNOT be destroyed by cutting! Actually it will grow back stronger from the sprouts! The only (secure) way to actually destroy or remove it from a small area (its eradication is a foolish dream!) is to uproot it entirely mechanically and also inject biodegradable herbicides in his bark (a terrible prospect anyway).
The video was first screened at the Chiosc space in Chisinau, capital of the Republic of Moldavia. In the green hell future of 2010 Mutant Ninja Turtles lookalikes (Vadim, Tiron, Serghey, Mihai) mechanically and ritually remove a young wild ailanthus growing in the middle of urban jungle surroundings and lost civilizations.
Another follow up of this action is the http://ghettopalm.tumblr.com/ site we did with a guided tour about the Ailanthus altissima dispersal in Chisinau and a map of it.
Apart from the bredarta perpetual outlaws doing the act - the guy recording the video - is painter extraordinaire - Leonard Andersen living in Chisinau. Also special thanks to the BMR for kind support and red nail polish.
A small endnote about what was happening to this empty building when i got back in September 2010. It was all fenced and with official stencils reading "DANGEROUS! NO ENTRY! TERRITORY OF THE GERMAN FEDERAL REPUBLIC!". Probably nobody will be allowed to enter there for some time. This raises new questions. Are they gonna build the next German embassy there? Are they gonna cut the trees down? Is it a new German EU colony in the jungles of Chisinau? Anyway, it seems that what we did there was pretty final, and that it happened on this territory BEFORE it became German territory...